Strawbale Building in Golden

Thursday, November 30, 2006


My last blogging effort was a bit of a disaster. My good friend Barb, pointed out that the web site I listed for Ryan, our plaster guy took you to a Mexican photo shop. That is definitely not Ryan. His correct web site is: It is worth checking out so all of you will know how to plaster during the plaster party that will come after the big thaw.

Monday, November 20, 2006

And, this is the strawbale crew. Perhaps I shouldn't do this while drinking wine.

Oops, last photos didn't agree with caption. This is the back view with solar panels.

A nice view of the solar thermal panels and the angles of the roof.

The strawbale stacking crew.

The SkyTrack placing the SIPs (our roof)

Much Overdue Update November 20

It has been more then a month since my last entry and much has happened at the job site.

As October wore on and the cold nights of November and December loomed, the boys were busy working on framing on the second floor so we could "get weathered in." Much would depend on getting our roof panels installed, the straw placed in the walls and stucco on the walls. We were not encouraged when we had three snows within a 10 day period. And not just flurries, snow that had to be shoveled off the job site and out of all the box beams.

Many calls were placed to the manufacturer of our roof panels to hurry them along. Not surprisingly every other homebuilder in the area using these panels was pushing to get them placed on their jobs. We decided to use SIPs (structurally insulating panels) for their insulative quality. For instance, a normal truss roof may have an "R" (the insulative quality of a material) of 8. The SIPs system has an "R" value of 42. The higher the number the more insulation. Finally, the panels were delivered as was the forklift to place them. It took 7 days to put them all in place. Watching Jeff and crew place them was like watching people put together a giant puzzle.

As the last SIPs were being placed, we stared moving straw into the house and preparing for our solar thermal panels to be placed behind the house. Keith had calculated how many bales were needed per room and we placed them accordingly. Keith, once again, recruited his amazing friends and a weekend was spent digging 12 holes for the caissons that would support our solar thermal panels. The panels were placed and on Friday, November 10th the strawbale stacking began. We were able to finish the basement that night and move onto the second floor. It is now November 20 and most the bales are stacked. The weather has cooperated for the most part. Wind seems to always be present but the moisture has been sparse. It is supposed to be 70 degrees tomorrow so we may try to spray on a layer of clay coating on the North strawbale wall. Ryan is helping us. You should check out his website ( He is young but seems like an old world craftsman. He does beautiful stucco/earthen plaster work.

This house has, in some ways, grown into far more of a project then Keith or I ever imagined. We had this vision of creating an earth-friendly home filled with good karma. Not to sound too cruncy granola, but we honestly wanted all our friends involved to give our home a soul. I am overwhelmed by the help that people have offered and gladly given. I'm sure all of you will be very glad when this project is complete, but I love seeing everyone covered in straw, laughing, bantering and filling our space. Thank you really isn't phrase enough to express the gratitude we feel. But, it will have to do until I can create a better phrase.

Until next time!